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Beaten prisoner denied bail

A prisoner tried to convince a Red Deer judge on Wednesday to free him on bail because jail wasn’t safe.

Benjamin Bjarnason, who was appearing from the Red Deer Remand Centre through closed-circuit TV, said he was assaulted while in custody suffering three broken ribs on one side and two fractured ribs on the other.

Bjarnason, 25, told Judge Darrel Riemer that he is in protective custody but still didn’t feel safe behind bars.

Despite the prisoner’s concerns, the judge said he was reluctant to allow Bjarnason to have a bail hearing without a lawyer.

Riemer adjourned Bjarnason’s case until Friday to provide time to have a legal aid lawyer appointed.

Bjarnason is one of four men charged together after RCMP found weapons and drugs during a Dec. 9 bust on Bjarnason’s home.

Cocaine, prescription drugs, drug paraphernalia, a nine-mm handgun, machete and a knife were seized after police executed a search warrant.

Bjarnason faces four firearms- and weapons-related offences and one count of breaching conditions of release.

Also in court was co-accused Chase Callihoo, 24, of Red Deer who faces six charges related to weapons and breaching conditions.

Callihoo, who remains in custody, is scheduled to return to court on Jan. 9.

A third co-accused, Devon Watson, 27, of Red Deer faces 13 weapons- and breach-related charges, as well as charges of assault and failing to attend court. He is in custody and will be back in court on Friday for a bail hearing.

The fourth person arrested in the bust, Jamie Symes, 27, of Red Deer was released on bail last month and is due back in court on Jan. 11. He has been charged with two counts of failing to comply with probation and one count of possession of a controlled substance.

pcowley@reddeeradvocate.com

 
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